‘WE RATHER DIE OF HUNGER THAN RETURN TO WORK’

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‘WE RATHER DIE OF HUNGER THAN RETURN TO WORK’
‘WE RATHER DIE OF HUNGER THAN RETURN TO WORK’

Africa-Press – Eswatini. Having been on strike for slightly over a month and consequently getting no payment, textile workers at JS Clothing in Siteki have reaffirmed their stand to remain on strike until the employer attends to their demands.

The approximately 400 workers downed their tools early last month after adopting a national demand of E15 pay per hour.

This demand was first raised by textile workers in Nhlangano with the backing of their union, the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA). Under normal circumstances, the textile workers at JS Clothing get paid on a fortnight basis.

According to the workers, their pay ranges between E700 to E1 000 per fortnight, depending on their various departments and terms of employment. Speaking during random interviews, the workers stated that they would not be returning to work despite that they were already feeling the impact of not getting a salary. Some of the workers disclosed that they had since been given warnings by their landlords for failing to pay rent.

“It would be a waste for us to engage in a strike for over a month and only to return to work without having achieved what we are demanding for,” said one of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The workers stated that they were prepared to sacrifice everything that they normally got when things were normal at work.

The workers only come to assemble at the company’s gate every morning to ensure that no employee gets in to work. Unlike during the first weeks where they would picket, the workers sit peacefully at the gate and engage in discussions.

“Even if the employer decides to fire all of us, nobody will get in here to work. The employer will have to hire all of us again and under an improved scale of payment which must not be below our demand,” said another worker.

When reached for comment, Human Resource Manager Cebile Shongwe said the management had nothing much to say since the matter was now in court. She, however, said the management had not dismissed any employee so far, despite that they had resolved to remain on strike.

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